Good morning, Phillies fans, and welcome to another edition of Extra Innings. The Phillies improved to 3-1 on their homestand with a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night and have a chance to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season Tuesday night with ace Aaron Nola on the mound. In three career starts against the Reds, Nola is 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA. He had a 2.08 ERA against Cincinnati in two starts in 2016, but last year, he surrendered five runs on six hits, including two home runs, in a 5-2 home loss. Joey Votto is hitless in eight career at-bats against Nola, but Adam Duvall is 3 for 6 with a home run. Homer Bailey will pitch for the Reds. He is 1-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 career starts against the Phillies.
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Kingery’s latest memento
Scott Kingery was holding a manila envelope with a special baseball inside after the Phillies’ win Monday over the Reds. It was the latest memento for the rookie who has already played five positions in just nine games. This treasure was from his first big-league home run, a second-inning solo shot off Reds lefthander Cody Reed on an 0-1 slider that appeared to be headed for Kingery’s ankles. “I didn’t know how low it was until everyone was telling me how low it was,” Kingery said. “I’m just happy I got barrel to it.” The cost of getting the ball back from the fan who grabbed it just beyond the flower beds in left field? “I think it was a signed ball, a signed bat, and I think tickets to another game,” Kingery said. “It sounded like the guy was a little bit tough [bargaining], but he gave it up and it’s good to have.”
It was just what the computer ordered. Nick Williams, a few days after expressing his displeasure at not being in the lineup often enough early in the season, had to sit through 7 1/2 more innings Monday night. Williams, of course, had expressed his discontent Thursday by suggesting that it was manager Gabe Kapler’s analytics computer that was keeping him on the bench. Williams apologized to his manager Friday, then did something even better Monday. He came off the bench and delivered the game-winning home run, an eighth-inning, pinch-hit solo shot that broke a 5-5 tie.
While Scott Kingery made his third start of the season at shortstop, slumping fellow rookie J.P. Crawford was not in the lineup for the second time in three games. Gabe Kapler said it would give Crawford some time to work on some things, but the manager did not say exactly what his slumping shortstop was working on. “I’m kind of leaving that to J.P.,” the manager said. It is clear, however, that the Phillies rookie shortstop is off to a rugged start. He has just one hit in 23 at-bats.
The minor-league report includes a 10-strikeout game for Cole Irvin in his triple-A debut with Lehigh Valley and a double and three strikeouts for IronPigs slugger Dylan Cozens, who has fanned six times in his first eight at-bats.
April 10: (Dollar Dog Night) Aaron Nola vs. Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey, 7:05 p.m.
April 11: Nick Pivetta vs. Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo, 7:05 p.m.
April 12: Off day
April 13: Phillies begin six-game road trip at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.
April 16: Phillies start a series in Atlanta for the second time this season.
Stat of the day
Hector Neris pitched a scoreless ninth inning Monday to convert his 21st straight save opportunity. Neris has not blown a save since June 21 of last season. He has a 1.31 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings during his saves streak.
From the mailbag
Would you comment on the Freddy Galvis trade to keep J.P. Crawford? So far, Freddy is hitting .364 with the Padres and was a finalist for the Gold Glove for last year. Given Crawford’s performance this season, I would be interested in hearing your opinion.
Answer: Gabe Kapler made the point before Monday night’s game that players should not be judged on a 10-game stretch at the start of a season, and he’s right. Numbers early in the season for both hot and slumping players are greatly exaggerated. In other words, Galvis is not going to hit .364 and Crawford will not hit .043. That said, I did not think the Phillies’ current front office, particularly general manager Matt Klentak, put enough value on what Galvis did well. He is a Gold Glove shortstop with some power and great leadership qualities. If Crawford’s minor-league track record is a reflection of what he will do in the majors, the only area in which he is significantly better than Galvis is in the on-base department. The Phillies, of course, are hoping for a lot more than that.